2011 WORLD CUP from the Eyes of a Kid

I was 10 years old back then. I had just started watching Cricket and only two things mattered to me at that time…SACHIN TENDULKAR scoring a 100 and INDIA winning. Anything less than that would be heartbreaking for me. Then came the time for the World Cup 2011 and with the experience of watching two proper series, I was all geared up for the tournament. My cricketing innocence can be understood just by the fact that when Sachin made the record of scoring 17,000 runs, I thought that he has played a ‘Knock’ of ‘17000’ runs. Now, unfortunately, at the same time, my final exams were also eagerly waiting for me. And, for a sweet kid like me, managing both was a huge mission ahead.

The newspapers came up with special editions of the World Cup with the schedule, records, and top players. I already had a Complan Cricketing guide with field positions and rules of the game. All this stuff was on my tip within a day. News Channels too were running 24-hour cricket analysis (I had no idea about GODI MEDIA at that time), which further skyrocketed my excitement. Though I had seen some opening/closing ceremonies before. But, this one turned out to be a different experience altogether. While the ‘DE GHUMA KE’ song filled me with an extreme level of cricketing excitement. On the other hand, the entry of Indian Captain MS DHONI, who also happens to be from my home town, on a Rickshaw was a unique view altogether. Now, after the ceremony was over, I ran back to my study table, as my first exam was two days later.

2011 Cricket World Cup - Wikipedia

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, James Vince - Mahendra Singh Dhoni Photos - Zimbio

India starts off in Style

After the exam, India had its first match on the 19th of February against Bangladesh. As the match started, the first ball was bowled to Virendra Sehwag and it went straightaway to the boundary, a trend which was followed for the rest of the tournament. After that, Sehwag continued his bashing and Sachin too was looking good. But…oh my gosh…there came a mishap and Sachin was run out due to a miscommunication. I was all heartbroken and half of my interest in the game was vapoured. But, Sehwag’s bashing was soon accompanied by a man who was going to become my ‘Next’ reason for watching cricket…VIRAT KOHLI. He went on to score his 5th century and became the first Indian player to score his first WC 100 on his WC Debut. I had no idea that that sight was going to become a habit for me and the whole cricketing world. Sehwag’s 175 and Virat’s 100 took India to 370/4. The innocent me didn’t know that this score is more than enough against Bangladesh. Hearing the story of India’s loss to Bangladesh in the past further worried me. But, for my comfort, India easily stopped Bangladesh at 280/9 and won the match comfortably.

CRICKET WORLD CUP 2011: Andrew Strauss the hero as England make 338 to tie with India | Daily Mail Online

The First TIE of my Life

After my second exam, India’s game versus England felt just a day before my third exam, and the paper happened to be ‘English’. Now, my English was not that good back then. In the first innings, I was able to see Sachin in vintage mode as he went on to smash a 115 ball 120. With further fifties from Yuvraj and Gambhir, India went past 300, but crumbled out at 338 with a ball to spare, due to some good death bowling from England. Now, due to my exams, I was not able to catch the second innings and was just checking the score every half an hour. But, the way England was batting, my tensions were rising. Finally, after completing my studies, I came in front of the TV.

My jaws dropped after looking at the score of 280/2. My heartbeats got faster, as I couldn’t have imagined India losing. But, then came India’s one of the greatest pacers of all time…ZAHEER KHAN. With his amazing spell, the scoreboard soon read 285-5. Further efforts pulled England to 307-7. But, unfortunately, their Tailenders were really good hitters and they took the match to the last ball. The last ball required 2 runs. I was in the tensest moment of my life. Munaf Patel bowled the ball, Graeme Swann hit it and the fielder stopped it at short mid-wicket, but 1 run was taken till then. The match was a TIE. I didn’t know whether I should be happy or sad. Anyways, I had to go to sleep as it was already the latest I have ever waken till …11pm!!!

Some Easy Get-Aways

Now, the next matches were against relatively weaker teams…Ireland and Netherlands. Fortunately, my exams too were evenly fixed this time. While my exam was again on the next day of the Ireland game, the gap being 2 days and the paper being Hindi, ensured that my preparation was all done before the start of the game. Now, Ireland had just defeated England in the last game and the name of ‘Kevin O’ Brien’ was a haunting one in the cricketing world. But, nothing of the sort happened and India easily bundled out Ireland at 207 and then comfortably chased the target. Yuvraj Singh literally owned this game as he scored a Fifty and took a Fifer. I had my next exam, three days later to the Netherlands game. Now, that was a comfortable situation to be in. Some NewsChannel hyped the game calling it ‘TEN V TENDULKAR’ referring to Netherlands star batsman ‘Ryan Ten Doeschate’. Again, India managed the Netherlands at a small score of 189. It was again an easy chase for India and the Hero of the game was again Yuvraj Singh for his all-round show of 2 wickets and an unbeaten fifty.

South Africa clinch last-over thriller |

The First Heartbreak of My Life

The game against South Africa was on the 12th of February. The day happened to be the day of my last exam and I was FREE after that. My exams ended, I came back and sat with all my excitement in front of the TV. India went on to a flying start and riding on the fireworks of Sachin and Sehwag was comfortably placed at 142-0 at a moment, that too in just 17 overs. Sehwag got out at 66, but Sachin went on to score a superb 111 off 101, which happened to be his 99th Century. But, what followed was really surprising as a team that was 267-2 after Sachin got out, soon went through a severe collapse and was bundled out at 296 without completing the full 50 overs.

Now, in the second innings, South Africa too went off to a flying start. I remember, I shouted very loud when the first wicket fell, as it was Sachin who took the catch. But, after that, I don’t remember anything in the game that was good from India’s point of view. Almost, everyone fired from their side. But the kid in me still believed that India will win the game somehow. The last over required 12 runs and the ball was given to Ashish Nehra…and he conceded actually 16 in just 4 balls and the game was over. I was not able to believe what my eyes have just seen. I was too innocent to understand that India is already qualified. For me India losing was just unacceptable. I remember I cried badly the whole night, washing my pillow with tears as that was the first Heartbreak in my life.

On this day: Sourav Ganguly hits historic hundred, protege Yuvraj Singh battles illness into World Cup glory - Sports News

India’s Strong Comeback on HOLI

Though India was logically qualified, due to some stupid analysis by a news channel, it was a must-win game for India. The day also happened to be Holi, and I remember how all of us got in front of the TV after all the heavy work in the morning. Sehwag was not playing the game. I remember Sachin got out at 2 and my jaws dropped again. But, he departed by himself when the umpire hadn’t given him out. His show of honesty gave me another reason to be proud of my Hero. From there on, Yuvraj Singh and young Virat Kohli rebuilt the innings. While the former went on to score a brilliant 100, Virat too scored a gritty Fifty. Despite this, India was again all out at 268 with five balls to spare.

I got to know a fact much later, but I think I should tell it here. Actually, by now Yuvraj started vomiting blood due to his cancer tumour. He hid this fact just because he didn’t want to miss the World Cup. He had trouble even during the match, but he continued fighting. I was very tense when West Indies started. As the first wicket fell, I saw ASHWIN for the very first time. Little did I know that he would go on to become one of the world’s Greatest Spinners of all time. West Indies looked good at 91-1, but consistent bowling and frequent wickets bundled out West Indies at 188. The last wicket was again taken by Ashwin while Yuvi and Zaheer shined with 2 and 3 wickets respectively.

Today In 2011, Yuvraj Singh's Finishing Touch Sent Defending Champions Australia Crashing Out Of The World Cup

India’s Quarter Final against the Mighty AUSSIES 

Though I was a newbie in the world of Cricket Fans, I knew the fact which team is the arch-rival of India. After all, the wounds of defeat in the 2003 WC Final and exit in the 2007 WC due to Greg Chappell were too painful to bear. I remembered that the news channels in their analysis had warned about two big players…SHANE WATSON and BRETT LEE. Australia had a good start but Ashwin removed Watson soon…and I had a huge sigh of relief. But, my relief was short-lived as the Aussie skipper RICKY PONTING went on to score a brilliant 100 and took his team to a respectable total of 260-6. India started off good and after Sehwag’s wicket, Sachin and Gambhir stitched a good partnership with decent fifties. After Sachin got out, and Gambhir was horribly run out, the match got serious. Virat and Dhoni departing soon, further worsened the situation.

At 187-5, India seemed in huge trouble, but the kid in me was again assured of India’s win. There rose a new Hero…Yuvraj Singh, who played his best knock of the tournament with an unbeaten 57. The game also saw the rise of Suresh Raina who did a great finishing alongside, and I remember him hitting a huge six over the sightscreen (a ball flying in the air was a very tense thing for me back then). I also remember Brett Lee getting injured in his forehead and coming with a band-aid. Even when India just needed 4 off 15, I was tense, thinking Australia can still win by dot balls. But, nothing of the sort happened as Yuvi smashed one through the covers and roared like Lion after the victory as the commentary went “India into the semi-finals…Australia out of the competition”. At the award ceremony, I saw a minister who I didn’t know at that time. Little did I know that he was going to be the next prime minister of India and I was going to have 100 differences with him as a Critic…HA HA.

2011 Cricket World Cup" Semifinal #2: India v Pakistan (TV Episode 2011) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

India goes into the Final

It seemed destiny had the world cup very evenly placed. India met Pakistan in the semis and the PMs of both countries came to the game. Well, you don’t even need to be a Cricket Fan to know the level of intensity, this game holds. The whole town was as silent as a curfew as everyone was in front of their TVs. Sehwag continued his trend of hitting the boundary of the first ball. He even scored 24 runs in an over of Umar Gul and his knock of 38 included 9 boundaries. After this, wickets kept on falling, but one man stood like a Rock. Sachin scored an intense 85 in a big game and he being dropped 5 times further helped us. Though he missed the 100, Suresh Raina was still there with yet another fantastic finish, propelling India to 260-9. A special thing that I observed was that our tail which used to fall like a pack of cards before this, in this game showed tough resistance. Even Harbhajan and Zaheer hit a couple of boundaries and India didn’t get all out while batting 1st for the first time in the tournament. Well…that’s what an IND v PAK game means.

In the 2nd innings, Pakistan started well and their first wicket fell only on 44. After that, the second and third wickets fell at 70 and 103. But, from there on, India kept on taking wickets at regular intervals. Pakistan’s hopes lay on Shahid Afridi and once he got out, that was just the game. I remember Sachin taking a catch again gave me immense pleasure. The last over required 30 runs and the ball being in the hands of Zaheer Khan made me very confident this time. Misbah, who played a good knock wasn’t able to score on the first 4 balls. He skied the 5th ball and the commentary went “It has gone miles in the air…miles in the air…and CAUGHT” as Virat Kohli took the catch and India entered the finals. Anyways, it was and is always a pleasure to play with Pakistan and I wish that happens more often.

My first big title Victory now

The final fell on Sunday and I was a little sad to know that Ashwin is missing out. There was some discrepancy at the toss, which I couldn’t understand. Sri Lanka came out to bat and I was surprised to see the first three overs from Zaheer Khan being maidens. Sri Lanka started building strong innings but then Sangakara was caught by MS Dhoni at 48. From there on, Jayawardene scored a brilliant 100 in the final. Flashy finishing by Perera took Sri Lanka to a score of 274-6, which seemed a huge score for me at that time (it was a good total anyways).

ICC on Twitter: "#OnThisDay in 2011, @msdhoni hit one of the most iconic shots in cricket history to help India beat Sri Lanka and win the @cricketworldcup" / Twitter

Now, once the Indian innings started, for the first time Sehwag didn’t start off with four. For worse, he got out on the very next one. I was shocked as hell seeing something like 0-1 in front of India. Sachin started a counter-attack by striking 4 fours, but Malinga got better off him as well, and he departed for 18 and the score was 31-2. My world cup dreams seemed to shatter in front of my eyes. As my Hero Sachin went in…there came my Hero to-be…VIRAT KOHLI. There was some exchange between the two as well.  At the crease, Gautam Gambhir was standing like a wall all out against the Sri Lankan bowling. He had already scored a couple of 50s but today he was playing one of the best knocks of his career under huge pressure. He stitched a solid partnership with Virat who in his own words “The 35 runs I scored in the Final were the best 35 runs I have ever scored in my career”. He was seriously nervous in front of Malinga at the start but once he was able to defend himself, he went well. I had no idea that he would smash the very same Malinga for 24 runs in a single over a year later. At the score of 35, one of his extended shots was caught and bowled by Dilshan. Now, I was again tense as Yuvi had gone for a Duck in the last game, but to everybody’s surprise…it was DHONI who came out to bat.

God Of Cricket Sachin Tendulkar's World Cup 2011 Poster For Wall And Home | PixaDunes

Dhoni was not in good form in the tournament, but today he came to bat with clear intentions. He was middling the ball very well, playing spin and pace equally good and was not leaving any opportunity to score a boundary. He hit a 6 over the point and I had not seen anything like that in my life before. Soon, Gambhir reached 97 and I shouted “Oh…he will score a century”. I wish I shouldn’t have said that as he got out on the very next ball, but by now India was in a comfortable position. A good scoring over against Malinga meant, India just needed 5 runs off the last 2 overs. Yuvraj took a single on the first ball and 4 was needed off 11. Nuwan Kulasekara released the ball..and it fell right on the slot…and “DHONI finishes off in style…a magnificent strike into the crowd…India lifts the World Cup after 28 years…the party starts in the dressing room…it’s an Indian Captain who has been absolutely phenomenal in the night of the Final”  were the words that echoed as I saw the ball sail through the maximum distance in my life. 11 players had just fulfilled the dream of 1.1 billion Indians.

World Cup Final 2011 Print | Cricket Posters | Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Pic: Indian World Cup-winning team



In front of my eyes, were the players celebrating with all their might and joy. Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh broke down out of happiness. I then saw my God SACHIN being carried on the shoulders of VIRAT. Finally, Sachin’s dream of winning a world cup was achieved in his 6th World Cup appearance. In the words of Virat “He carried the nation’s burden for 21 years…so it’s time that we carry him”. Well…that moment was actually the transfer of responsibility from the GOD to the KING in the role of being the ‘Biggest Cricketing Hope and Face of the Nation’. Then, came the award ceremony, and after the medals, Yuvraj Singh was declared the Player of the Tournament for his 15 wickets and 376 runs. He literally sacrificed his whole career for his country and for this, words aren’t enough to express gratitude. What further makes this win so special is that it was a perfect team performance. While Sachin was the second leading run-scorer and Zaheer Khan was the second leading wicket-taker, valuable contributions also came from Sehwag, Gambhir, Harbhajan and almost all other players. If the 1983 World Cup, had sown the seeds of the Cricketing Revolution in India…2011 World Cup started the Era of India’s dominance in World Cricket.

Finally, India was the World Champion in the very first tournament that I saw in my senses. The excitement and happiness were at a level, which literally can’t be expressed in words. From that day onwards, Cricket became an integral part of my life. Waking till 2am and waking up at 4am for cricket matches became a routine thing for me. On India’s loss, I am not able to sleep, and on India’s win…still, I am not able to sleep…HA HA. India’s jersey became the top dress in my wardrobe. Celebrating in ‘GANGULY’ style after India’s win and eating ‘DHOODH-ROTI’ after India’s loss, became the new normal for me. With time, both my interest, knowledge and understanding of the game propelled. And…yes I am no longer that innocent kid that I was at the start of the article. Irrespective of my future, Cricket will always be the ‘First Love of My Life’. Thank You so much MS DHONI and Team for giving me and the whole nation this immense moment to celebrate and cherish for life.


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